PlayStation VR: Sony doubles down on PSVR’s future

PlayStation VR may have been a little quiet of late, but don’t take that to mean Sony has given up on the VR device. Speaking in an interview with PlayStation Japan, Worldwide Studios head Shuhei Yoshida explained Sony is doubling down on immersive PlayStation VR experiences.

In the PlayStation Japan blog post (as spotted by Upload VR) Yoshida explained that the perception of VR is shifting. Instead of playing bitesize experiences, people want immersive ones to sink their teeth into and Sony is already on the case.

“Users will not want a short experience, they will want to have a game to play for a longer time,” he said. “Based on such expectations, I came up with the strategy of making full-scale games of larger scale in the 2nd and 3rd years.”

Examples of this type of approach can be seen in The Persistence and Firewall Zero Hour. “Titles with deeper gaming will continue to increase in the future,” Yoshida added.

READ NEXT: How to set up a PlayStation VR

Looking to the year ahead, Sony is working on bringing plenty of other VR games to PlayStation VR. With titles like From Software’s Deracine and Sony London’s Blood and Truth on the way, it’s looking likely that Sony is serious about keeping PlayStation VR going.

Sony’s focus on VR makes sense as PlayStation VR has outstripped the company’s expectations. Within a year of it coming to market, PSVR had already kept pace with both the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive. It’s unclear if it’s still leading the pack now, but with those two VR companies still heavily investing in the space and growth of VR, it’d be silly for Sony to not do similar.

PlayStation VR: Your 12 questions answered

1. How much does PlayStation VR cost?

For a very long time after launch, PlayStation VR was sold out at most retailers. Things have finally calmed down, but you’ll still have to be on the ball to snap one up at a decent price.

On launch, Sony’s headset cost £350 but now, thanks to a big price drop, you can snap up a starter pack for £259, which comes with a copy of PlayStation VR Worlds and the PlayStation Camera you’ll need for tracking. Compared to other headsets on the market, this represents a significantly cheaper takeup cost than both the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.

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2. What comes with PlayStation VR?

PlayStation VR is, unfortunately, a tad deceptive with its messaging. As it’s built upon technology that already exists for PS3 and PS4, Sony is actually just selling you the VR headset in the box. To actually use PlayStation VR with your PS4, you’ll need to own the PlayStation Camera and, if you want a more interactive experience, a pair of PlayStation Move controllers.

If you’re a PlayStation fiend, you may already own both of those – which is what Sony is banking on – but for those who don’t, it’s an extra expense. A PlayStation Camera will set you back £40, and a pair of move controllers should cost around £40, but it appears that demand is outstripping supply and so Game is prepared to sell you some for a whopping £115. Thankfully, the PlayStation VR Starter Pack solves the bunk of this, including a PlayStation Camera as standard. If you’re insistent on getting PlayStatation Move controllers, you’ll have to buy those separately.

3. Will Sony really support the PlayStation VR?

Sony’s PlayStation VR managed to end 2016 with more unit sales than both the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. In fact, Sony’s VR headset was so popular it nearly managed to outsell both headsets’ combined total sales, selling 745,000 units since its 13 October 2016 launch.

Some still painted this as a failure for Sony as, with an install base of 50 million PS4s, this represented just 1.5% of potential PlayStation VR owners actually buying a device. That sounds terrible on paper, but you have to remember that PlayStation VR is a triumph in having become the best-selling VR headset on the market within three months of sale. It’s also the first reasonably priced and consumer-focused VR headsets on the market – both the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift are aiming at enthusiasts, Sony is not.

Sony has been highlighting and releasing plenty of PlayStation VR exclusive and PSVR-enabled games since the devices’ launch and seems to be showing no signs of stopping.

4. What games can I get for PlayStation VR?

Because PlayStation VR is aimed at the mainstream, Sony has provided it with a vast library of interesting VR games, experiences and experiments. On launch, PlayStation VR came with around 50 games to play from day one, with more titles added periodically via game updates or new launches.

READ NEXT: the best PlayStation VR games available right now

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5. How comfortable is PlayStation VR to use?

Sony’s headset may look like a cumbersome melding of plastic, glass and metal that you have to wrap around your head, but in reality, it’s the most comfortable headset on the market. By shifting the unit’s front-loaded weight to your forehead, instead of the front of your face, Sony’s VR display floats in front of your face allowing you to play comfortably for hours. Its adjustable head strap keeps it secure and all the padding stops the strap from feeling uncomfortable during play. It may be the heaviest headset on the market, but it certainly doesn’t feel like it.

6. Does PlayStation VR have lots of cables?

Despite Sony’s best efforts to contain all of PlayStation VR’s functionality to the PS4, a breakout box and the headset itself, there’s a heck of a lot of cables about the place during setup. If you’re a cable-phobe, go get someone else to run the setup gauntlet for you.

7. How easy is PlayStation VR to set up?

Despite all the cables, Sony has put its consumer expertise to use and made a wonderfully straightforward PlayStation VR setup manual for every user. All cables are numbered, and all ports are clearly labelled, so even a Luddite can get Sony’s VR headset up and running within minutes.

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8. Can I watch 3D Blu-rays on PlayStation VR?

Good question! After nearly six months of waiting, PlayStation VR owners can now enjoy 3D Blu-rays thanks to Sony’s PlayStation 4 4.5 firmware update that dropped mid-March 2017. If you do have a set of 3D Blu-rays to watch – or you just fancy giving some a go, make sure your PS4 is updated to the latest firmware and you should be able to enjoy 3D video content via PlayStation VR with zero issues.

9. Do I need a PS4 Pro for PlayStation VR?

If you’re holding off on buying a PlayStation VR until you’ve first bought yourself a PS4 Pro, don’t. While there are some benefits to running PlayStation VR on Sony’s more powerful hardware, it’s not that big of a leap that you’ll see noticeable differences – at least for the money you’ve spent specifically for PlayStation VR performance. Sony built its PlayStation VR headset from the ground up for the PS4, so it works excellently with the PS4 from the get-go.

10. Does PlayStation VR work with PS3?

A lot of you seem to be asking “does PlayStation VR work with the PS3?” The short answer is, no. The long answer is, the PS3 just isn’t anywhere near powerful enough to try and start outputting video to PlayStation VR’s screens – let alone rendering a full 3D VR environment. Sorry PS3 owners, you’ll just have to upgrade to a PS4 if you want to experience PlayStation VR for yourself.

11. Are there benefits to using PlayStation VR with a PS4 Pro?

If you have a 4K TV and plan to pick up the PlayStation VR too, having a PS4 Pro makes a lot of sense and, although minimal, there are benefits to running Sony’s VR headset through a Pro.

Connected to a PS4 Pro, and running a PlayStation VR game that’s been updated to support the extra power of Sony’s new console, games hit the headset’s sweet spot of 120fps. The use of Supersampling (downscaling a 2K image to 1080p) makes everything just that little bit sharper, and in-game textures have also been boosted. It’s most notable with Driveclub VR, which feels like an entirely reworked game in some aspects.

Still, with a small catalogue of compatible VR games and minimal benefits, don’t rush out thinking you have to have the PS4 Pro to use PlayStation VR.

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